4 Distinct Visual Styles
Windows Vista's premier visual style is built on a new desktop composition engine called Desktop Window Manager. Windows Aero introduces support for 3D graphics (Windows Flip 3D), translucency effects (Glass), live thumbnails, window animations, and other visual effects, and is intended for mainstream and high-end graphics cards. Windows Aero has significantly higher hardware requirements than its predecessors. 128 MB of graphics memory is the minimum requirement, depending on resolution used.
Windows Vista Standard
This mode is a variation of Windows Aero without the glass effects, window animations, and other advanced graphical effects such as Windows Flip 3D. Like Windows Aero, it uses the Desktop Window Manager, and has generally the same video hardware requirements as Windows Aero.
Windows Vista Basic
This mode has aspects that are similar to Windows XP's visual style with the addition of subtle animations such as those found on progress bars. It does not employ the Desktop Window Manager. For computers with graphics cards that are not powerful enough to support Windows Aero, this is the default graphics mode.
An option for corporate deployments and upgrades, Windows Classic has the look and feel of Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003. It does not use the Desktop Window Manager. As with prior versions of Windows, this visual style supports color schemes, which are a collection of color settings. Windows Vista includes six classic color schemes, comprised of four high-contrast color schemes and the default color schemes from Windows 98 and Windows 2000.